PR or Public Relations is often the last thing that a small business thinks of to grow their business. However, the addition of PR into a marketing plan can add a variety of benefits:
- Inbound link to your website: SEO is tricky business and an inbound link from a popular source can only help!
- Validation of legitimate business and offering: A third party, unbiased validation is stronger than advertising. It solicits trust more easily.
- Attracts more press: Previous press mentions tell a journalist that you understand how to work with them.
- Spreads awareness to new audience: Whether paper or online, news gives you access to a large readership of your target audience – for free!
Including PR effectively into your marketing requires a targeted plan. There are different ways to gain media attention and each have different efforts required. Mainstream news mentions or quotes are different than a guest article or post on an industry site. Both could have immediate positive results, but the latter could be planned and incorporated into a campaign.
Working with a professional agency is an excellent way to get established. They often have connections and can shop you around to different press. They can also guide you in media responses, press kit creation, crisis management planning, etc.
If you want to take this on yourself, here are a few ways to test the water:
- Subscribe to HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com/)
- Write your own Press Releases: And submit them to sites like PRWeb. The point of a press release is to send it out to where the press can see it and use part of it in their story!
- Sign up for Google Alert: You need to track any mentions of your company name (you should be doing this regardless).
- Create a press kit: Always Be Prepared. IF a journalist emails or calls asking for something you should have it ready to go. They work on tight timelines and will not wait for you – they’ll find another small business to promote or quote.
- Send your own pitches: Sourcing journalists and pitching story ideas is harder than it sounds. Try it.
After doing the above for yourself you will likely develop a better understanding of the work that goes into PR and why people work with professional organisations. There are a lot of inexpensive PR firms that offer introductory packages or special packages for start-ups and small businesses.